Hot right now: Coconut oil row, MNC water use and adulterated milk among our trending social stories

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The row over coconut oil in India rumbles on. ©iStock
The row over coconut oil in India rumbles on. ©iStock

Related tags Coconut oil Water Pakistan Honey

The stand-off between a Harvard academic and the Indian government over the benefits of coconut oil, MNC's under fire for their water use in Pakistan and honey fraud in Australia feature in our top five trending stories across social media.

Coconut oil 'poison' row: Harvard distances itself from 'pure poison' statement in response to Indian government's wrath

Harvard University has responded to the Indian agricultural department's emphatic letter protesting the description of coconut oil as 'pure poison'​ by distancing itself from any direct connection with the claims, saying that these were "not [made] on behalf of the institution (Harvard)".

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Dr Michelle Williams wrote an email response to Dr B. N. Srinivasa Murthy, Horticulture Commissioner of India, which FoodNavigator-Asia ​has read, courtesy of Dr Murthy.

Dr Murthy wrote the original strongly-worded letter​ to Dr Williams, calling for a retraction of the statement.


India's dairy taint: Over two-thirds of all milk and milk products violate standards

:Roughly 68% of all milk and milk products in India has been found to be in violation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) standards​ – despite the regulators' recent proposal of a penalty of around US$14,000 (INR1m), or a maximum of lifetime imprisonment for intentionally adding adulterants to food products.

The most commonly found adulterants include detergent, white paint, caustic soda and refined oil.

“Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose and formalin are also used to deliberately adulterate milk as they provide thickness and preserve the milk for longer periods,”​ said Mohan Singh Ahluwalia, speaking for the Animal Welfare Board of India.


Pakistan water crisis: Nestle, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola amongst companies summoned for water usage

The CEOs of Nestle, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola,​ amongst other beverage giants, have been summoned by Pakistan’s Chief Judge with regard to their water usage in the country.

The summons were in regard to a suo motu​ (where a government agency acts on its own cognizance) case about major environmental concerns facing the Katas Raj Temples in Punjab.

The temples made headlines over the past year because its pools dried out after the establishment of cement factories in its vicinity that drew out large amounts of water via sub-soil wells.

Locals consider the pools to be ‘holy ponds’.


Honey…how to shrink the frauds? Australian experts respond to 'adulterated' product claims

Australia's honey industry has found itself in a sticky situation this week, amid claims that almost half of the samples collected from supermarket shelves were adulterated.

It comes after law firm King & Wood Mallesons commissioned Germany's Quality Services International (QSI) to conduct two types of tests on the sampled honey – new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) screening and Australia's official C4 test.

It examined 28 blended and honey samples from Coles, IGA, Aldi and Woolworths stores, finding that almost half were ‘adulterated’ – meaning they contained something other than nectar contained from bees.


Truly ridiculous': Plant-based food pioneer on the scale of Asia's protein 'crisis'

Asia-Pacific's food and ecosystem will inevitably collapse​ unless drastic action is taken by consumers, industry and governments to reduce meat and dairy intake, according to the man behind plant-based platform Green Monday and Hong Kong store Green Common.

David Yeung, who has helped to introduce the likes of Beyond Meat and JUST​ to Asian consumers, delivered his stark warning at the Sustainable Foods Summit in Singapore.

He cautioned delegates that the region’s, and indeed the world’s, food systems were on the brink of collapse.

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